A traditional method of obtaining start-up funds to bring a design to market has been through venture capital. This was the source Xilinx, Inc. and other FPGA companies initially used to get started. A lengthy process of “courtship” between the venture capitalists and the team who is proposing the new venture is necessary and may not result in success. It is projected that venture capital will become less available during the 1990s [Bell91]. However, during the 1980s, sources of government funding have become available in the United States to stimulate small business growth and also to encourage the collaboration between university-based technological research and commercial development.

7.6.1   Small Business Innovation Research

Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) was established by an act of the U.S. Congress in 1982 to allocate research and development (R&D) funds solely to stimulate small business. The purpose was to both benefit small businesses and to meet R&D needs of federal agencies. The Act was reauthorized in 1992 with legally mandated step increases in the allocation of funds through 1997. Eleven federal agencies participate in SBIR; Department of Agriculture, Department of Commerce, Department of Defense, Department of Education, Department of Energy, Department of Transportation, Environmental Protection Agency, Department of Health and Human Services, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, National Science Foundation, and Nuclear ...

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